First 3-D Adventure Game for Preschools

In November, Sierra shipped it's first-ever 3-D adventure game for young children, Roberta Williams' Mixed-up Mother Goose.

Roberta took a personal interest in the project from the beginning, going beyond her usual role of designer to even pose on the front of the Mixed-up Mother Goose box (accompanied by a couple of Sierra children and a temperamental goose).

Roberta included many children's favorite characters in Mixed-up Mother Goose, including Little Jack Horner, Mary and her Little Lambs, Little Miss Muffet, and Peter the Pumpkin Eater.

Mixed-up Mother Goose can be played by children as young as four or even three (depends on the individual child). Basically, the feature that makes Mother Goose playable by young children is the lack of dependence on reading or writing skills for playability.

For instance, when the player directs the main character (with arrow keys or joystick) to walk up to Humpty Dumpty, who is jumping up and down by a wall, Humpty immediately tells the child (in written words) that he needs a ladder. If the child can read that message, all well and good. A moment later, a thought bubble with a picture of a ladder appears. So, even if the child cannot read, he or she knows that Humpty Dumpty is thinking of a ladder.

Other special features in Mixed-up Mother Goose include the ability to make the main character look like the child. The player can either be a little boy in blue feeted pajamas, or a little girl in a pink nightgown. You can also choose between four different hair colors.

Sierra performed extensive playtesting with local kindergarten and preschool children, to be certain of the game's playability in those age ranges. Changes were made to the way Mother Goose works (in comparison with other 3-D adventures) to make the game easier for very young children.

Response to the new game so far has been very positive. Although the projected age range (approximately 4 to 8) was small relative to the usual range for Sierra 3-D adventure games (approximately 8 and up), parents and older children seem to be having as much fun "helping" as the younger children have playing.

Chalk up another success for award-winning game designer Roberta Williams.

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